When you sit down to a nice dinner at a restaurant and look at the wine list, you consider two things: 1) what kind of wine do you prefer, and 2) what wine goes best with your food choice. You can use similar considerations when you choose an all-mountain ski.
All-mountain skis are the versatile workhorses of the slopes. That is to say, they perform well in most terrain and snow conditions that you encounter on typical day. They may not have a waist width wide enough to surf deep powder, or a waist width narrow enough to arc precise turns on a GS race course, but they are designed to handle nearly everything else that you’ll find at ski resorts.
Elan’s series of women’s skis that fit into the all-mountain category: Insomnia and Wildcat. Skis in the Insomnia line are designed for versatility, stability and precision, and have waist widths that range between 71 mm and 76 mm. The four models in the Wildcat series range from 76 mm underfoot up to 86 mm, and are designed for exploration around the mountain with finesse and power.
Back to the wine analogy. Red wine is arguably the most versatile of wines, so let’s say red wine is the all-mountain ski category. If you’re looking for a light, well-balanced red, you may choose a pinot noir. If you’re looking for a light, well-balanced ski, you may find that the Insomnia 12 C or Wildcat 76 will meet your needs. Both skis share the same waist width, as well as Amphibio Trulite Technology, which means that the inside edges are reinforced from tip to tail, resulting in smooth, accurate turn ability.
With skis—and wine—you can look deeper still to find the best fit for you. Which region do you prefer when choosing a caberne savignon: Chile, or Napa Valey? Both regions produce delicious wines, but the terroir, for example, will influence the taste. For skis, the terroir can be compared to the terrain, and the food pairing can be compared to the snow conditions. Along with the asymmetrical design of Amphibio Technology, which stabilizes tip to tail edge pressure, the Insomnia 12 C has a power-focused woodcore and carbon reinforcement, and is designed to carve up the front side and handle also some soft snow. The Wildcat 76 C has a laminated woodcore, which makes it light and dynamic and would pair well with a day of exploring moguls, long groomers, and some soft snow.
As the cabernet of the group, the Wildcat 86 CX has the widest waist of both series and is the bridge between the all-mountain category and the freeride Ripstick line. In fact, the Wildcat 86 CX shares a Tubelite woodcore with the Ripstick line, resulting in a light and dynamic feel, as well as Carbon Rods in the core, which add strength without adding weight. The Wildcat 82 CX shares a similar construction with the 86 CX, but with a slightly narrower waist width for more frontside, groomed-snow performance. The Wildcat 82 C has carbon reinforcement instead of Carbon Rods, which increases the liveliness of the ski.
If you’re looking for the most powerful and performance-oriented skis (comparable to a full-bodied Zinfandel), look to the Insomnia Elite Ti (71 mm waist), Insomnia 16 Ti (73 mm waist) and Insomnia 14 Ti (76 mm waist). These models have a layer of titanium along with the Amphibio Truline Technology for the best trilogy of all-mountain attributes: performance, precision and versatility. If you’re looking for a little lighter flex (Malbec anyone?), then look to the Insomnia 10 Black or White, which both have a 76 mm waist and a laminated woodcore for energy and liveliness. How ever you like to explore the mountain, you’ll be able to pair your specific preferences to a model from Elan’s Insomnia or Wildcat series.